Retro-Bit Tribute64 – Hardware Review
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Developer: Retro-Bit
Publisher: Retro-Bit
Platform: Nintendo 64, PC (USB Model)
Tested on: Nintendo 64

Retro-Bit Tribute64 – Hardware Review

Good: Design, Comfortable, Affordable
Bad: Design is very similar to that of Hori's controller
User Score
9.3
(3 votes)
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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Consoles that were once brand new and the pinnacle of technology are now dated and deemed retro and some even achieved the status of being collector’s items. Collecting old school consoles is a thing, and it has been thriving for the last decade or so. Of course, there are many who still hold cartridges of their favorite games, but their trusty console has died over the years, or many of the controllers did not withstand the test of time, and it’s here were companies such as Retro-Bit tend to shine. Retro-Bit develops controllers for old consoles, but also retro controllers for PC, and they also have a line of consoles on the market that can play retro cartridges. Recently the company announced a new controller, namely the Tribute64 which comes in three different colors and two models, namely for the Nintendo 64 and a USB model that works on a different set of platforms including Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch.

 

 

Design

We were given the transparent green model of the Tribute64, and there is also a transparent blue version and a solid red one. The controller looks quite spiffy, but those who know the Hori version of the Nintendo 64 controller will see a lot of similarities, if not almost an identical design. Retro-Bit’s version is a bit more streamlined by omitting sharp edges from the design. The Tribute64 is quite compact, as it is less wide than a PlayStation 4 controller, making it a delight for those with smaller hands.

Every button is properly incorporated in the design, putting nearly everything on the same place and in the same order as an original Nintendo 64 controller. The biggest differences are the D-Pad that is placed in the middle, and the double Z buttons that now serve as the controller’s triggers. This means you can use the Z button by pressing the left or right trigger. The L and R buttons aren’t marked, which isn’t a big problem, but it would have been a nice finishing touch, and the same can be said about the double Z buttons.

Comfort

While we found the original N64 controller quite comfortable, there were many gamers out there that didn’t even know how to handle the three-pronged monster, and Retro-Bit decided to make it easier for all of them. You’ll be treated to the setup of a conventional controller, meaning two handles and that’s all there is to it. The controller is also designed for people with smaller hands, making it accessible for a plethora of gamers.

The controller is made out of a hard plastic, just like the original back in the day, and this suffices for a model such as this. Only the placement of the L and R buttons feels a bit more awkward than the original controller, but overall the Tribute64 is a delight to play with, especially for longer gaming sessions.

Specs

  • Double Z buttons serve as the controller’s triggers
  • Cable length: 3 meters

Overview

We received the Nintendo 64 model for reviewing purposes, but there’s also a USB model which works on different platforms. We weren’t able to try out the latter, but we assume that it’s a plug and play model like many controllers nowadays. We simply had to hook up our Nintendo 64 and plug in the controller to get rolling. Our Nintendo 64 wasn’t stashed away too far, as 40 Winks was recently released for the somewhat retired platform. The console immediately recognized the controller, and we could simply plug in a memory pack, a rumble pack or even the elusive transfer pack that pretty much served its purpose for Pokémon Stadium.

The button feedback is decent and it’s very nice to work with a GameCube stick, rather than the ones we had on the original N64 controller. Don’t get us wrong, the original sticks were great, they had a lot of resistance on them, and they were precise to work with, before they started to deteriorate that is. When playing games like Mario Party your stick would be bashed around like crazy, making it looser and looser in the process, fully destroying the resistance on the stick, making it flimsy and unresponsive. With the addition of three meters of cable length on the new controller, you’re in for a fun experience. Only the D-Pad placement on Retro-Bit’s device is a bit odd as it is placed in the middle of the controller. While the controller is small, it’s still decently reachable, it just feels a bit off at times. Nonetheless, it’s something you can get used to, so it’s not the biggest gripe you can imagine.

Conclusion

Retro-Bit’s Tribute64 might look like Hori’s pad, it does a decent effort to differentiate itself by price, comfort and the available colors. You’ll be treated to a great controller for your Nintendo 64 that doesn’t deteriorate as fast as the original controller(s). If you’re looking to play on your trusty console once again, you can always look into this N64 compatible controller, but there are also options if you’re playing retro games on a new platform with the USB variant. This device is certainly worth looking into.

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Retro-Bit Tribute64 - Hardware Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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